When You Lose Someone Close
My Dad's Story
My Dad passed away on April 21st, 2015 in the ICU after being brought in by ambulance and being resuscitated at the age of 65.
My Dad was born in 1949. He was a bit of a rebel his whole life. He had no fear of dangerous situations. He went to a special school and graduated with a fifth grade education. While at school, they taught the students how to live on their own because most of the students weren't expected to marry or live a normal life.
My Dad later went on to meet and marry my Mom when he was 26 and she was 18. They had me almost a year later. I was born just a week shy of their 1 year anniversary. My brother came 2 1/2 years later and my sister was born 13 years after me.
My Dad grew up in the Slovak village in Cleveland. He grew up in a large Polish family. He was the fourth of eight children, I believe. My Grandparents married and had one child before my Grandpa was sent of to World War 2. When he came back, they had five more children. They thought they were done, but then the youngest two were born. My Dad would help take care of his younger siblings. He would take them shoe shining with him and give them some of the money. He would take them for ice cream afterwards.
My Aunts and Uncles tell me that Dad was a daredevil growing up. He would throw caution to the wind. He was a caring brother and always ready for an exciting adventure. He would run off of roofs and ride motorcycles. Once he got in an accident while driving a motorcycle. He had just bought helmets the morning of the accident for his sister and himself. They were in the hospital for a few days and my Aunt had a spoke from the wheel though her leg, which had to be removed. The helmets were unrecognizable afterwards. It was a sign that it was not their time yet. I don't know what made them go out and get helmets that morning, but I am glad that they did.
The Army was drafting young men for Vietnam. My Dad was exempted from the drafting because of his hearing. He had lost most of his hearing in both his ears as a child. It started off when he poked his eardrum while at school. He had multiple surgeries to fix his eardrum, but it was never the same. His hearing loss also deteriorated in his other ear over time. Many family members on my Dad's side have hearing aids. He had always told me that he had a few dreams when they drafting. In those dreams, he had been drafted and he was being sent home in a box. In a way, the hearing loss saved his life. It was not his time.
Later, he met my Mom, they married and had us kids. My Dad worked at a machine shop working the in-ground compactor which would compact all the metal scraps. He also did machine maintenance and cleaning around the factory. I was always worried that he would fall into the compactor and we would get a call. Luckily, he was very careful. Another employee that did the same job as my Dad, but worked a different shift was not so lucky. One day, we did get a call though from the hospital saying that my Dad had an accident at work. His pointer finger on his dominant hand had been cut off and because of all the chemicals that he worked with that were coating his hands, they were not able to put it back on. He was helping a co-worker to fix a machine. My Dad turned it off to fix it. My Dad told his coworker not to turn the machine on, but it was loud in the factory and all he heard was turn it on. My Dad said that he didn't even feel it when it happened. He looked at his hand and saw that his finger was on the ground. Then the pain began shortly after. He had to have surgery to remove the bone sticking out and to close up his finger. The circulation to his hand was not the same for the next year. His hand would turn purple around the area where he lost his finger. He said sometimes it would feel like his finger was still there. The doctors called it a phantom appendage. Sometimes when people lose an appendage, they can still feel it as if it was really there.
The first home my family owned, they bought right after I was born. I remember we lived right across from a factory. Our backyard was beautiful though. It was very open and we had a beautiful cherry tree, but the birds would eat every cherry right before it was ready to be picked. Afterwards, we moved to the suburbs because I was getting ready to start Kindergarten and my parents wanted to get me into a good school district. We moved within walking distance of a beautiful park called The Gorge. It had caves, cliffs and a huge waterfall. My Dad would take us there. He was still fearless and he wanted to feed our sense of adventure. We were able to explore caves and climb down rock walls. We had a great time and he made sure we did not get hurt. He would protect us, but he also wanted us to have a fun adventure together.
While living in the suburbs, we had rabbits and my Dad was always fixing a car. I am sure our neighbors must have loved us! We also had a turtle for a little while. My Dad saw him in the middle of the street. My Dad rescued him from being hit by all the cars and we brought him home until we can find the right place to release him. One day, my Dad got in his car to go to work. He parked it on the street in the shade. He never locked his doors. He didn't believe in locking doors. He looked down at his seat and saw a big gray and white floppy eared rabbit in his driver seat. Someone had put it in there! He got us out of the house and told us to look at what someone left in his car. My Dad laughed. We kept the rabbit and called her Floppy.
After a while in the suburbs, my Dad said he wanted to move to the country. In the middle of my year in the seventh grade, we moved to the country. We had seventeen acres. We had an old house built in 1886. My Dad had a place for tractors and animals. He was so happy. We didn't grow much, but he loved making trails in the woods with his tractor. My brother would ride his dirt bike on those trails. He even built a treehouse back there. None of that would have been possible if my Dad didn't make those trails.
While living in the country, we had a goat named Billy, chickens, ducks, geese and rabbits. We planted crops one year and it was amazing! Our Dad would let us drive the tractors to till, plow and mow. Every time we got the tractor stuck, he would come out and get it out for us. But, my Dad worked long hours at the factory and did not have time to keep up the gardening, so that was the only year we had a large garden.
I remember he bought an old-fashioned corn shucker to remove the corn kernels from the cob after it had dried out. We would use it to feed the animals. Dad would find all these neat things at auctions and flea markets. It was fun going to all those places with him. He was always so happy when he won a bid.
My Dad was fearless when it came to people. My Dad was always thin, but that did not stop him from standing up to much bigger guys when there was a problem. I always felt safe with him.
Later, I graduated and went into the military, met my husband and married. We got out and went to college together after we served our four years. My Dad was worried about me going into the military. He told me that I was not his daughter if I went in, but I knew that that was his way of saying that he was worried and did not want me to join the military. He and the rest of my family would visit me while I was in the military and he was proud of me. It was just hard for him to let me, his first child, into the military where I could be hurt.
I was stationed in Biloxi, Mississippi for a year and my family had come to visit. My Dad finished up his shift at work, drove the hour back home, got the family and luggage in the car and drove 17 hours straight down to Biloxi to make sure he got there to celebrate the 4th of July with me. It was such a wonderful trip. We went to an Aquarium, saw fireworks on the beach, stayed out the only Motel left in Biloxi, checked out the souvenir shops and I showed them my dorm room and the rest of the base. That will always be a great memory! My Dad loves casinos and there were several large riverboat casinos along the coast within walking distance of the motel. My Dad went out there and had a great time while the rest of us slept. He was so happy the next day. He told us all about the casinos.
My Dad had been asking me for years if we were ever going to have children. My husband and I had been married for ten years and still didn't have children. We were waiting for the right time. First we were in the military, then college, then living in an apartment just starting our careers. He was so excited the day I finally told him that he was going to be a Grandpa. I am so glad I was able to give him a grandson and granddaughter. He would play with them when he had the energy, help them tie their shoes and play card games with them. I am so glad he got to know them before he passed away.
When His Health Started To Decline
About ten years ago, my Dad was let go from his factory job. He was depressed and did not know what to do. He tried finding other jobs, but like his job, all the factory jobs were moving out of the country.
My Mom had been talking about a separation for a while and decided that now was the time. She moved back to the suburbs with my sister, who was still in school. My Dad stayed in the farm house. My Mom would still call him to make sure he was OK and my Dad would still visit her to make sure she was OK and to see both my Mom and my Sister. He would work on her car and she would make him food. They still cared for each other, but my Mom needed some time on her own. During that time, my Dad starting noticing some pain and one side of his neck was really swollen. He went to the ER and found out he had non-hodgkins lymphoma. Cancer of the lymph nodes. His chances of survival were not good. I remember, I got the call during finals week on my last semester of college. He went through chemo and radiation therapy for around a year after diagnosis. He auctioned his house off since he was separated from Mom and didn't know if he was going to make it through this cancer.
Dad moved in with my brother, but my brother was getting shipped off to the military soon after. He told my Dad he can stay at his house while he was gone. My brother had not been able to pay the mortgage for a few months, so his house was taken away a few months after he went into the military. My Dad moved in with his parents again in Cleveland. They helped take care of him during the cancer, but my Grandpa's dementia was getting worse and my Grandma was getting older. Sometimes, while he was living at my brothers place, I would call him and he would just laugh and not talk. He was on so much medicine. The Oxycontin made him hallucinate. It scared me, so I would call my Mom and she would go over and check on him, call the doctors and help him pay his bills.
Once his cancer was in remission, Mom and Dad had talked about moving back in together. They had never gotten a divorce. I was so happy that they were back together because they could watch out for one another. They drove each other nuts, but they took care of each other too.
They picked out and bought a house together. My sister was in high school at that time. They were closer to family again too.
But two years later, the cancer came back. This time it came back as throat and lung cancer. My Dad was a smoker. He had also been a drinker long before. He tried to give up both drinking and smoking when I was a kid, but got sick, so he started smoking again. Between the smoking and the chemicals at work, I don't know what caused it.
My Dad went through chemo and radiation again. It was a much more aggressive treatment this time. He was in the hospital for two weeks each time he got chemo. He lost his hair again. He was weak again. He wanted to get out and be normal again.
After around a year of chemo and radiation again, he went into remission again.
My Grandpa's (Dad's Dad) Dementia was getting even worse at this point. Dad would take him and my Grandma to their Doctor's appointments and bring my Grandma grocery shopping. My Dad was really close to his Mom.
I got a call saying that Grandpa was in the hospital. He was walking to Burger King when he was beaten up and thrown to the ground. His hip was broken. They did surgery to fix it, but he couldn't go home. He was in a wheel chair and would be too much of a falling hazard. My Grandma would not be able to take care of him herself. He was moved into a full-facility nursing home. Everyone worried about being alone in her home and in that neighborhood. She moved into the retirement apartments next to Grandpa's nursing home.
My Dad would get my Grandpa and bring him to my Grandma for visits. Grandpa did not know who anyone was by that point. Then we found out that Grandpa had colon cancer. It was a late stage and with his age, the doctors said that there was nothing they could do. He was in pain, but he didn't know he had cancer. He died a few months later.
My Grandma went through a depression. She would cry a lot, but my Dad would come visit her and take her out to the casino and to go grocery shopping. She was so happy when she saw him. They had a regular date to go out. They both needed it.
Soon after Grandpa passed away, they found a spot on Grandma's lungs. Again, there was nothing the doctors could do. All the kids knew she had lung cancer, but she did not. Her kids were afraid she would fall into a deeper depression. She passed away a year and a half after my Grandpa.
I felt bad for my Dad because he and my Grandma were so close. He didn't have any parents left.
The Spring after my Grandma passed away, my Dad started spitting up blood. He went to the hospital and was admitted for two months. He had mucormycosis. It's a fungal pneumonia with a low chance of survival. He was hooked to IV's full of medication for the two months he was in the hospital. He got better and got out of the hospital.
Just 18 months after my Grandma passed away (one month ago), my Dad had a pain in his arm and his back. He also started spitting up blood again. He didn't want to go to the doctor because he was afraid that the cancer or infection had come back and he would be admitted again. He really wanted to make it until next week before seeing the doctor so he could pay the bills when his check came in. I told him to go to the doctor. Everyone told him to go to the doctor.
That Saturday morning, he went to the ER because he could no longer bear the pain. He was in there for the whole day. They gave him morphine for the pain and gave him a prescription for pain and an antibiotic. They told him to only take it if he keeps spitting up blood. They had done an X-ray of his arm and lungs and told him that he had muscle pain and maybe an infection. They told him that it was not an emergency and asked him why he came in. They told him to ice his arm where it hurts. They tried pushing him out of the ER as soon as they saw that he had Medicare/Medicaid. They had him drive home after giving him Morphine.
Dad picked up the medicine the following morning. He would have gotten it after he got out of the ER, but the pharmacy was closed. I called my Dad that day to see how he was doing. Nobody in the family believed that it was just muscle pain or infection. They didn't think the doctor really looked at him well enough. My Dad got off the phone because his hearing aid and arm were bothering him and he needed a nap. That is the last time I spoke to my Dad.
Death Is Never Easy
My Mom just got home from work at 11pm. My sister was in her room getting ready to go to sleep. My Dad was on his favorite couch. He asked my Mom how many pills the prescription said to take. She read it for him and went to the computer (just behind his couch) to check her emails. He told her to come over and watch some of his show with him. He got up and put the ice pack under his arm and walked around the couch three times while telling my Mom what had happened so far on the show. He showed her that he bought her her favorite candy.
Then he sat down and he started throwing up into his trash can. My Mom said it sounded like he was gagging while he was throwing up. She asked him what he was throwing up and he said "blood". She came over to check on him and saw that he was throwing up lots of blood and it was coming out of his nose too. He started looking dizzy and worried so my Mom told him to sit down so she could get her purse and bring him to the hospital. Mom was panicking and yelling to my Dad that she was going to get him to the hospital. My sister came out of her room and saw Dad shaking and his eyes rolling into the back of his head. My Mom was panicking and calling 911.
It took 15 minutes for the ambulance to get to the house. They couldn't find his pulse. They shocked his heart back and got him into the ambulance. He was unresponsive.
I got the text from my brother's friend saying that my Mom had to call 911 for my Dad, but he doesn't know what is going on. I called my brother and he was in the ICU with my Dad and Mom. I told them I was on my way. I packed the luggages and woke the kids up. It was a school day, but this was more important. My husband was on a business trip outside the country and I was trying to get a hold of him. I had a 5 hour drive ahead of me. My daughter was not feeling well either. I was going to bring her to the doctor that day.
I made it to the ICU. My cousins and Aunt brought me up. They wouldn't tell me how my Dad was doing. They just told me to be prepared.
Have You Lost A Parent?
I walked into my Dad's room in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) to see my Dad. I didn't know if my Dad was still alive at that point. My Dad was having seizures. They would not stop. And his eyes were wide open and rolled upward. I broke down. After holding it together for the trip there, I cried. I went over to Dad, kissed him on the forehead and told him that I loved him. He did not respond. He just kept shaking with his eyes rolled upward. I asked my Mom what was going on. She looked so tired. She hadn't slept in over 24 hours. She said he was unresponsive and that he is having seizures. She told me that he had lost brain function because of how long he was out. She also said that he had a clot in his arm that they removed. His arm was still turning black and blue due to the lack of the oxygen to it. They believed there was another clot in his upper arm and another in the back of his neck where it goes up to the brain. I saw that they were pulling blood out of his stomach which could have been caused by an ulcer. A lot of blood. He had tubes in his mouth. He was hooked up to so many machines.
We spoke to the doctors who told us that his kidneys were failing and if we kept him hooked to the machines he would need dialysis. His heart was only functioning at 35%. His arm would need to be amputated, but just moving him from the room would be too stressful on his body. Removing his arm would most likely be too stressful for his body to handle. His brain function was low. They were going to do on EEG the next morning to see if the swelling in his brain would go down. If the swelling went down, then there was some hope, but he would still be in a vegetative state.
The next day, we got the results back on Dad's EEG. His brain had completely swollen. It was a very bad sign. If we kept him hooked to the machines, he would need dialysis, his arm amputated and he would be in a vegetative state for the rest of his life.
The doctors told us that the sooner we make the decision to turn of the machines the better. The longer we left him on the machines, the more the doctors would have to do and it would be too much for his body to handle.
We felt like his spirit was not in his body. It was in between his body and heaven. We were keeping his body alive, but his soul was no longer in there. A lot of his brothers and sisters said that they think he passed away in his house and his body was just being kept alive.
We decided to turn the machines off that night. It had been almost 2 full days since he had gone into the ICU. He wasn't responding to touch or light. We called his brothers and sisters to let them know. We had a priest come in to give him his last rights and say a prayer.
Once everyone got there, the priest gave a nice service and we all said our goodbyes before they unhooked him from the machine. They kept the pain killer, seizure medicine and heart rate monitor going. The nurse said that it could take anywhere from 5 minutes to a day for him to pass after being unhooked from the machine. It took less than 5 minutes. He took a few sporadic breaths on his own. It looked like it was difficult for him to take those breaths. My Mom said it looked like he looked at her like "why are you doing this to me?". Then the heart monitor flat-lined.
I couldn't believe that my Dad was gone. A couple hours before, I was thinking that right now I have my Dad in the room with me and in a few hours he will not be alive. I also thought that it was just his body that was here and if we kept him on the machines, it would still be just his body and not his soul.
He had told us a few times before that he never wanted to be a vegetable. He had also told my Mom that he didn't want to be cremated, but cremation was all we could afford.
Right after he passed, the nurse was asking if they could use his body for medical science. There was no way I was going to let him go like that. This is my Dad he was talking about. I did not want to think of anyone doing that to him. We said No.
He then asked if they could take his eyes. I know it's just there job, but it is very insensitive to ask these questions at such a time. Plus, he was not a donor.
After My Dad Died
I felt awful. I did not want to believe he was gone. I kept hoping that he would show up or answer the phone and that I would realize it was a bad dream. I thought of Dad almost every waking moment. I felt like it was rude not to think of him.
We decided that we could not afford a burial, so my Aunts, Mom, Brother and Sister looked into Cremation Services together. I was so happy that my Aunts were there because we were emotional wrecks and we needed help.
Instead of having a funeral service, we had a Celebration dinner in honor of Dad's life. We made a poster board with hearts and put pictures of Dad up on it. We asked that everyone bring a picture or a story about Dad. We also asked that everyone sign his poster. We had a nice dinner and we told tons of stories about Dad. His Brothers and Sisters even told stories I had never heard before. It was comforting to know that so many people loved Dad and were there for him.
5 Stages Of Grief
How I Felt After My Dad Passed Away
A few days after Dad passed, we had to make the drive back home. I wasn't feeling good at all. I had caught my Daughters flu. The day after I got home, I was freezing, very shaky and I was so tired. I had a high temperature. My husband took me to the ER where they hooked me up to IV's with saline and pain medicine. They took X-rays the same way my Dad had described his X-rays: the chest and one arm up from the side.
They told me that I had the flu and pneumonia and that I was going into tachycardia. They had me on albuterol for an hour. They kept me in the hospital until the next afternoon because I have asthma and my heart was doing strange things, plus I have a heart murmur. I stabilized and was released the next day with tons of prescriptions.
I was so tired for the following week. I don't know if it was because of the flu, pneumonia or because my Dad passed away or if it was a combination of it all. I have read that it is not unusual for people who lose someone close to them to get sick afterwards with the flu or some other ailment. We don't take care of ourselves (eat, drink, sleep), our immune systems are down and we are in a hospital setting.
I received flowers and sympathy cards with notes. I cried while I read each one.
5 Stages Of Grief
This isn't happening!
Why is this happening?
I will be a better person if you don't take my loved one.
What is the use of waking up or living?
My loved one has passed. They will always be in my heart and memories. I am happy that I had them in my life while I did. It was just their time.
My Worries And Fears
Was he in pain? Did it hurt when he passed away or was it a feeling of comfort?
Did he know it was going to happen and was he scared.
My kids will probably not remember my Dad when they get older.
Was he ready to die. Did he have more things he wanted to do with his life or was he ready to reunite with his loved ones that passed away before him.
I worry that I will forget what he sounded and looked like: his movements, his smell, his energy. I found pictures and his old voicemails, but I cannot find videos. It would be nice to see him again how he was while he was alive.
I worry that there is no after-life. Everyone has a different idea of what happens to a person after they die. I would like to believe that he was brought up to heaven by angels and greeted by his loved ones that passed before him. I would like to believe that his hearing is back, the finger he lost is back, his teeth are usable again and he can eat the foods he likes again and most of all, I hope that he is no longer in pain.
I feel bad because I didn't visit enough. I have lived out of state since I joined the military when I was 18 years old. I tried to visit when I could and he would visit me when he could. We both had our own lives and schedules. It costs money to travel too, which is something they did not have. We would call each other, but sometimes we would go months without talking to each other. I would talk to my Mom and she would tell me how Dad was doing, he was usually taking a nap or out fixing the car. My Mom would tell my Dad how I was doing. I just feel bad that I hadn't spent more time with him. I had not seen him for 5 months before he died.
What I Did To Get Through The First Month After My Dad Passed Away
Reading books really helped me get through the grieving process. The book that helped me the most was 'On Grief and Grieving: Finding the meaning of grief through the five stages of loss'. I described it in more detail in the paragraph below.
I talked to family. They were going through their grieving process too. It was comforting to share stories and details about Dad. I was able to get more of an understanding of what happened with my Dad. They had pictures and memories to share. We also talked about how they felt about Dad passing and everything that led up to it. It is good to talk about it.
I talked to friends who have also lost their parent. It was comforting to see that they also lost a parent and that they were still able to make it from day to day. It was also comforting to know that I am not the only one who this has happened to.
I want to make sure my Mom, Brother and Sister are OK. They lived with my Dad. They saw him every day. They say that it is strange to not see my Dad around the house or to have conversations with him and to do the activities they used to do together. The house feels empty. My Dad was the one who made the larger wage, paid the bills and did the dishes. My Mom now has all the jobs my Dad used to have on top of trying to get more hours at her job so she can pay the bills. She also has health concerns of her own that I worry about.
Look through pictures. It gets you past thinking about those last few days and minutes while your loved one was alive. Looking through pictures helped me to remember my life with my Dad and all the great memories we made together.
Find videos of your loved one. I want to hear my Dad's voice and see him like I used to see him. I found old voicemails and I found pictures, but videos are different. I want to see the expressions on his face and the way he moved.
Take care of my Dad's Grandchildren and myself. He would not want to look down from heaven an see me upset and his grandchildren not being taken care of.
On Grief And Grieving
The Book That Really Helped Me Through My Grieving Process
The book 'On Grief and Grieving: Finding The Meaning Of Grief Through The Five Stages Of Loss' really helped me get through the grieving process right after my Father passed away. I was depressed, lethargic and just didn't want to deal with my life. I was so sad that my Dad was gone. Even though I saw my Dad pass away in the ICU, I still couldn't believe he was gone. I kept hoping that he would answer the phone when I called my parents house. I started looking up articles online about people who have also lost their Dad's. A few people had mentioned a book called 'On Grief and Grieving: Finding The Meaning Of Grief Through The Five Stages Of Loss'. They all agreed that this was the book to read.
'On Grief And Grieving' was written by Elisabeth Kugler-Ross and David Kessler. Elisabeth was a grief counselor who was also dying. She was paralyzed from a stroke she had had a few years before. David, who also was a grief counselor, would come to the hospital to write this book with Elisabeth from her bedside.
This book really helped me understand that grieving was a good thing. You have to go through the grieving process to get past it on move on with your life. You will always remember your loved one who passed. It feels like a sin to not grieve right after you have lost someone close to you. If you feel like crying, then cry. If you want to communicate with your loved one, find a picture of them that makes you happy and let them know what is going on in your life, ask them questions, have a conversation with them. It's not crazy. It's a connection.
When reading this book I realized that the feelings I was feeling were normal. It even helped me identify things that I did not know I was going through after my loss. It was comforting to know that others had gone through this too. You will always grieve on some level after you lose a loved one.
Right after my Dad passed, I kept thinking that this must have been a bad dream and that I could call their house and talk to my Dad. I didn't want to believe that he was gone. I felt like if I believed that he was gone, then he would really be gone, and I did not want that. This book really helped me get through that stage of grieving.
It told stories of others who had lost loved ones. It was comforting to know that others had similar stories and feelings about their losses.
One chapter I found very interesting in the book described letter writing to your lost loved one. When you are thinking about your loved one, write a letter to them with your dominant hand. Ask them any questions that you have and share your memories of them. Afterwards, grab another piece of paper and use your non-dominant hand to have them write the letter back to you. Open your mind and let your hand write without thinking about what you should be writing. You may find that your loved one has answered some of your questions and gave you some comfort by letting you know that they are OK. I haven't tried this yet, but I want to do it soon. I wonder if it is actually the loved one writing through you or if it is the writer subconsciously writing what they think their loved one would say and what they would want them to hear?
Is There An After Life?
My family and I have had, what we believe to be, some signs from my Dad. I heard my Dad's voice while I was alone. He said "I'm OK".
I had a dream that felt so real with him in it. He was walking up my Grandma's driveway and he saw me sitting on the back porch. I couldn't believe he was right next to me. I could feel his presence and smell him. It was so real. He asked me how he died. I told him and he looked down and started to fade away. I asked my daughter how she slept that night and she told me that our dog kept barking in her room like someone was there.
My sister turned her radio on months after my Dad passed away. It was on my Dad's favorite channel.
Sometimes I feel like I am being tapped on the shoulder, but I am the only one in the house.
My brother is selling my Dad's stuff to help my Mom pay the bills. My brother heard my Dad say "Oh, you're selling all my stuff".
My Grandma saw my Dad walking up her driveway with his head down.
Sometimes I think I see my Dad out of the corner of my eye and feel like someone is looking at me, but then nobody is there.
I have had birds and butterflies stop right in front of my face like they are looking at me, which is a sign that you are being visited by a loved one from above.
I believe there is an after life now. With all the signs my family and I have received, I do not know how there cannot be.